The premiere of a new experience took place yesterday in Tržič and I was lucky enough to be among those that took part. It certainly lived up to its promise of being an unforgettable experience, one which I recommend you experiencing for yourself, whether you live here in Slovenia or happen to visiting at the time it is run.
The concept of the experience titled Nepozabni Božič Jakoba Aljaža (Jakob Aljaž’s Unforgettable Christmas) is two-fold: to acquaint visitors with some of Tržič’s history and traditions, and to tell the story of how and when the Christmas carol Silent Night was first sung in Slovenia on Christmas Eve in 1871 by the then vicar of Tržič, Jakob Aljaž.
Although I could describe the experience in full, this time, I actually don’t want to! Why? Because it’s well worth experiencing it for yourself, so I recommend you book your place now.
I will let on that it starts at the dragon from a rooster’s egg. Click here to find out about the legend.
And here are a few more photos to give you an insight or two.
Unfortunately I couldn’t try the local speciality Tržiška flika, as it definitely isn’t gluten-free, but I can reveal that it’s a yeast bread topped with sour cream and cumin.
You’ll have to find out the rest for yourselves! The torrential rain tried its best to dampen our spirits, but it didn’t! But do make sure you wrap up well as, trust me, old houses and churches are cold, just one look at my ridiculously red nose makes that clear!
The experience takes place in Slovenian, however it can be run in English upon prior arrangement for groups. The next experience will take place on Monday 12th December, then again on 19th December and 2nd January, each time at 4pm.
The Christmas lights were also switched on yesterday in Tržič, and, despite the aforementioned and ever-present torrential rain, after two years of no events due to COVID-19, it was lovely to see, and hear, the old town centre come alive.
Cobblers’ Sunday takes place annually on the first Sunday in September , when the streets of the old town of Tržič come to life.
The event attracts large numbers of visitors, who come to browse the market stalls, enjoy the entertainment programme and take advantage of free guided tours and entrance to galleries and museums. The programme, as seen below (in Slovenian) actually begins on Saturday 3rd September, when from 10am to 1pm a Festival of Old Games will take place in the atrium of the municipal building (občina).
On Sunday 4th – the main day – some of the highlights of the programme include: a live concert by the Saša Avsenik Ensemble, entertainment for children on a bouncy slide and face painting, a fashion show with a difference, a clown show, creative workshops for children and guided tours of the Germovka iron foundry.
The tradition of Cobblers’ Sunday dates back over 500 years, attesting to Tržić’s heritage as the centre of Slovenia’s shoemaking industry. It is associated with the custom called frejšpreh’nga’, when it was on this day that in the past, cobblers’ apprentices were promoted to journeymen.
In 1985, the old town centre of Tržič was designated the status of a cultural and historical monument. Though, as with so many town centres these days – and not only in Slovenia – the old town centre itself is not the thriving hub it once was. It is, however, still home to some interesting and unique buildings and features, particularly the portals embellished with flowers.
The trail, which is marked by metal shoe imprints, leads past the houses of former cobblers’ workshops…
…as well as the town’s last remaining firbec okno’ window. The word ‘firbec’ refers to a nosey person and ‘okno’ (meaning window) refers to the window from which nosey residents could look at the goings-on in the town by looking through the glass pane at the bottom of the protruding window, without the need to lean out of the window.
Be sure to take advantage of free entrance to Tržič Museum, which is located in Muzejska ulica (Museum Street). The museum is housed in the former Pollak dyehouse and tannery, which dates from 1811.
The museum’s numerous collections take you through Tržič’s historic industries including shoemaking, leather, crafts, trade, winter sports, local history, and art. The museum is far more interesting than one might think and has numerous interactive exhibits, so it’s definitely worth a visit.
Inside there are a range of exhibits, some of which are interactive, through which you can find about more about the town’s tradition of shoemaking as well as its other industry heritage, including skiing, leather and other crafts.
Through the day on Sunday there will also be the chance to taste traditional Tržič bržola as well as other typical stews cooked in a cauldron.
A fun day out for all the family! Now let’s just hope the weather gods are kind, but whatever the weather, come and enjoy the fun of the fair!
Mt. Dobrča can be reached from many directions. I’ve previously blogged about my hike to the Koča na Dobrči mountain hut, so this time I decided to approach it from a different direction, from Tržič, or to be more precise from Brezje pri Tržiču via the Lešanska planina mountain pasture.
This particular trail begins from almost opposite St. Agnes’s church (Slovene: Sveta Neža) in Brezje pri Tržiču, which is located alongside the road that leads from Begunje na Gorenjskem to Tržiška Bistrica.
My trusty companion(s) for this trip were my friend Bernarda and her trusty companion Charlie – the dog. Since she lives in Tržič, Bernarda knows almost every inch of Mt. Dobrča like the back of her hand!
After a short walk up the road, you reach a junction, where either trail leads to the Koča na Dobrči mountain hut. We took the one to the right, as seen below.
You soon reach an old water trough with the sign Razgledna točka, which you can follow for a few minutes to reach a viewpoint.
Return to the main trail and continue on the well-marked path that leads up through the forest before emerging onto a clearing, from where there are great views across the Radovljica Plains towards the Jelovica plateau and further.
Here you can take a seat and soak up the views from the special bench dedicated to the stage and screen actor and author Polde Bibič, best known for his role in the film Cvetje v jeseni (Blossoms in Autumn), and the recipient of numerous awards and accolades.
Continue upwards on the marked path towards Dobrča…
…and you soon get your first glimpse of the Lešanska planina mountain pasture (1,450m).
There is a herdsmens’ hut on the pasture where, in the summer grazing season, you can try sour milk, curd cheese and stews, as well as traditional Slovenian žganci and masovnik.
From the pasture you can continue up to the Koča na Dobrči mountain hut or, for a shorter hike, and if you want to do a circular route – you know how much I love a good circular route! – head back the same way, but only for a few minutes, past the Lešanska planina sign (as shown above) to the bend in the road then follow the road down until you reach a junction.
Here you can either continue down the road to return to the start or take the path to the left towards Tržička Bistrica, as shown on the stone below.
After just a few metres, keep a close eye out for a path to the right that leads into the forest, which you follow straight ahead then diagonally across a pasture.
Keep following the marked path until you emerge onto the road close to a trough with drinking water, which both I and Charlie took advantage of, particularly as Bernarda tells me that Tržič’s water is among the best in the whole of Slovenia.
So, this rounds off another great hike in the Tržič area. Click here to find out more about this and other hikes in the area.
The walk begins in the Pristava area of Tržič, where there is a small parking area almost directly opposite the start point.
The trail to Gozd takes just over an hour and is well marked throughout with signs and the usual red and white circular trail markers.
It is particularly pleasant at this time of year in the summer heat as it runs almost entirely through the shady forest (or as was the case for us yesterday, the forest also provides shelter when it begins to rain!).
After about half an hour you emerge onto the road, where you are greeted on the opposite side by a dazzling array of signs!
Follow the signed trail to the left, which, after around 20 minutes emerges at the forest shelter, where you can enjoy a rest, a drink and some sustenance before either returning the same way or heading onwards and upwards!
PHoto: PD Križe
There’s a small climbing wall and play area for ‘kids’ too! Note: the shelter is usually open on Friday afternoons, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, or at other times upon prior arrangement.
Opposite the shelter is a shrine, which appears to be ‘keeping watch’ over the shelter and the hikers that pass by.
If you are looking for a more challenging hike, you are spoilt for choice with hiking trails in the area, the main ones being Kriška gora, Tolsti vrh and Storžic.
If, however, you don’t plan to walk any further, then why not just join in the crowd!
Enjoy your walk/hike, and, take my advice, make sure you have your waterproofs with you in your rucksack, because at the moment there seems to be a storm every afternoon and you don’t want to get caught out…like we did!
It was a public holiday here in Slovenia this Wednesday (Day of Uprising Against Occupation), so we had planned – weather permitting – to do a long hike in the Tržič area. However, it had rained heavily the previous day, and all night too. Although it had stopped by the morning, there were still threatening black clouds and, of course, soaked and muddy paths. So, in the end we waited until the afternoon, by which time the sun had come out, then went to Tržič anyway, albeit for a shorter, but nonetheless pleasant and revealing, afternoon trip, or rather Town in a day!
It’s amazing how much more you see when you take time and explore all the various nooks and crannies of a place on foot. And Tržič certainly one of those places that has far more than initially meets the eye.
We started by taking the path up to St. Joseph’s church. The path starts at the scarp wall, in close proximity to and opposite the main bus station, where there is a gap in the wall and steps leading up to a road.
Cross the road and take the path immediately opposite, where there is a shrine and the usual Slovenian red and white circular trail markers.
From there it’s only around a 5-minute walk uphill to reach the church, from where there are beautiful views over the old town of Tržič.
You can return on the same path or take one of the other paths back down towards the old town (note: there is also a marked hiking trail from the church up to Kriška gora).
On returning towards the old town, take time to ‘meet’ Tržič’s dragon, before setting off on a discovery of the old town itself. Click here to find out about the legend of the dragon from a rooster’s egg.
At the entrance to the old town centre in Trg svobode (Freedom Square) you can see the last remaining original ‘firbec oken‘ window – a window for the inquisitive, or rather, putting it less politely, the nosy! The bottom of the window protrudes outward, thus allowing those looking from the window to be able to look directly out and down at those below them.
If you want a break, Mestna kavarna (town cafe) is the ideal place. This popular local meeting place offers a wide selection of ice-cream and numerous cakes.
Next, continue to the corner house opposite St. Andrew’s church.
Continue past the church, to reach Muzejska ulica (Museum Street) on the left. Tržič Museum is housed in the former Pollak dyehouse and tannery, which dates from 1811.The museum’s numerous collections take you through Tržič’s historic industries including shoemaking, leather, crafts, trade, winter sports, local history, and art. As I found out on a previous visit (https://adeleinslovenia.com/2019/01/02/rediscover-trzic-with-adele-in-slovenia/), the museum is far more interesting than one might think and has numerous interactive exhibits, so it’s definitely worth a visit and an ideal place to go on a rainy day.
After visiting the museum, or at least admiring it from the outside, return to the main road, where directly opposite you will see Picerjia Pod gradom (Pizzeria beneath the castle) – another option for a rest and a bite to eat, or even a hearty meal.
Walk up the hill past the pizzeria to get another great view over the town – this time from the opposite side. From here you have a choice; you can either continue onwards and upwards towards Kamnek for magnificent views (hiking footwear required) or take the steps back down towards the old town, from where you can see Kurnik House (Kurnikova hiša), a preserved, traditional Tržič house with a black smoke kitchen, the birthplace of the Slovenian poet Vojteh Kurnik.
Finally, take time to admire the views from one of the many bridges over the Bistrica stream.
Though a bit cooler, early autumn can be a great time to go cycling in the Gorenjska area, as the majority of tourists have gone home, hence the roads are quieter, and the landscape is still lush and green, with just a hint of the beginnings of autumn.
There are cycle routes in the Tržič area to suit all levels and desires, from gentle family-friendly rides along country lanes to more demanding road bike tours, and from mountain bike tours along mountain pastures to more adrenaline-fueled descents.
The cycle routes are generally well marked, though there is the odd crossroads where one (well I!) might dither over which way to go, so it’s a good idea to pick up a copy of the map of all the major cycle routes in the area at the tourist information centre, and GPX tracks of all the routes are also available to download.
A good route to start with to get a feel for the area is the Udin Boršt trail, which skirts around, and also in a short section through, the Udin Boršt woods. The 26 kilometre circular and relatively flat route starts and ends at the Tržič Tourist Information Centre, from where, after just a short ride, you are soon off the main road and cycling along tracks and country lanes.
This ride through the countryside beneath Kriška gora and Storžič leads through villages, past churches, shrines and farms…
…and to hidden places you – well certainly I – didn’t even know existed!
If your water bottle is empty, then you can stop at the spring in Strahinj to refill it, before continuing your ride. The tarmac road soon becomes a track, which you follow towards Tenetiše, before joining the main road.
Fortunately, its only a short ride on the main road until you turn off to the left again, this time towards Letenice, and back to more pleasant country lanes.
You soon reach the second of the three bells that makes up the Three Bells Trail, which I wrote about in a previous blog here.
So, now’s the time to get active and discover more of Tržič – this time on 2 wheels!
I believe that every visitor to Slovenia who wants to get a real sense of the country, rather than just visiting the usual tourist attractions, should visit at least one of the numerous mountain pastures, where you can enjoy some simple, hearty, homemade food, enjoy the peace and views, and soak up the atmosphere of pasture life.
And there’s no better place to do so than on the mountain pastures beneath Košuta – Slovenia’s longest mountain – above Tržič, particularly as they are easily accessible even for those who don’t enjoy, or are unable to take part in, long hikes. The options are almost limitless; you can opt to go on a full day walk from the valley, or drive part of the way for easier access, you can just walk from pasture to pasture, or you can tackle one of the peaks along the length of Košuta, or even stay the night so you can see and do even more!
Having previously blogged about our overnight stay at the Scouts’ Hut on the Šija mountain pasture and hike to Kladivo, this time we picked up the walk where we left off – at the Pungrat mountain pasture – from where we walked to the Dolga njiva alpine dairy farm.
Since we wanted to do a partly circular walk, we started at the Zali potok hidroelectric station and took the unmarked path. However, it is a little difficult to find the trail in a few places, so for first timers and those wanting a longer walk, I would recommend instead starting your walk from Medvodje, which is reached by driving through Tržič then past the Dovžan gorge (it’s well worth stopping for a walk through the gorge) to Jelendol and onwards on the forest road.
Alternatively, you can drive, or even cycle, further up the mountain road and park just 20 minutes from the Dolga njiva alpine dairy farm, which is a particularly favourable option for families with young children, and/or those wanting to hike further and higher.
It was one of those summer days that was forecast to be sunny, but the clouds were very persistent and didn’t lift until well into late afternoon, but the scenery, and the four-legged friends, made up for the lack of sun.
On reaching Dolga njiva, you can try some really typical mountain food, such as masovnik – a hearty mixture of flour and sour cream. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to try it (coeliac disease and wheat flour = a big NO!), so I asked one of the hikers if I could take a photo of her food before she tucked in!
Buckwheat topped with pork crackling is another popular dish, often served with sour milk.
Kids will love the mini farm with its curious cows, snoring pigs, donkeys, turkeys and geese.
You can then set off for a circular walk on the Eagle Trail (Orlov pot), where you can see golden eagle nesting sites, the source of the Košutnik stream, and the flora and fauna of the area, while opposite the dairy farm you can see a chest used by allies to drop supplies to the pasture in World War II in the occupied area of the German Reich.
Dolga njiva is also an excellent starting point for hikes onwards to other mountain pastures or upwards to reach the highest point of the municipality of Tržič – Košutnikov turn.
If you want to stay longer you can stay over and sleep in a hay loft then next morning, after a hearty breakfast, head off to explore more of the pastures beneath Slovenia’s longest mountain – all 10 kilometres of it!
On what was – if I remember correctly – my second visit to Radovljica back in 2006, prior to moving here in 2007, I called in at the Radovljica Tourist Information Centre to enquire about where I could go for a walk without needing a car.
I was given a map of the area and directed to the Forest Nature Trail and/or the Lipnica Castle Trail. I’ve written about the latter previously, however, it wasn’t until I recently read in the local paper that the former has now been equipped with new signage, that I realised that I have never actually written a blog about it. So, now is the time to right that wrong!
Do like me and pop into the Tourist Info Centre to pick up a map, then, if you have a car, you can drive to the start, or, like me, cycle there!
There is an information board at the start (unfortunately it’s only in Slovene), and from there just follow the trail through the forest. You can’t (really) go wrong!
The trail is equipped with signs showing the species of tree (in both Slovene and Latin) as well as signs with footprints showing the way.
It first leads through the forest on a terrace above the Sava river…
…before descending to a beautiful, tranquil, forested part of Radovljica, which makes you feel like you are a million miles away from civilisation. There is a tree trunk showing the rings of wood and significant national and international events that occurred based on the presumed age of the tree.
In one of the quieter areas, away from the road, we even spotted deer in the forest in broad daylight when we were there last week, though you’ll have to trust me on that since I wasn’t quick enough with my camera to catch them!
Additionally, if you are in the area from now until the end of August, why not try the Hop On and Discover tourist bus – a reincarnation of the Hop-On Hop-On tourist bus – which connects interesting sites and attractions in the municipalities of Radovljica, Tržič and Jesenice, thus giving you a chance to see, and do, even more!
Due to an ongoing vestibular problem (more on that later), for the past five months I haven’t been able to do the kind of adventurous hikes that I’m accustomed too. Fortunately, there are plenty of hikes of all levels in the hills and mountains in the area where I live. So, this time, I decided that, since I can’t scale the dizzy heights of Mt. Storžič itself, I can at least walk to the Dom pod Storžičem mountain hut (1,123m) beneath it and gaze up longingly at it, hoping that one day I might again be able to make it to the top of this, and other, mountains.
The walk from Grahovše to the Dom pod Storžičem mountain hut makes an ideal family walk. It only takes around an hour and isn’t strenuous.
To reach the starting point in the village of Grahovše, drive through Tržič in the direction of the Dovžan gorge (Dovžanova soteska) until you reach a road on the right that leads up to the hamlet of Slap. Note: if you don’t have a car, you can start the walk here, and you should allow an extra hour or so to reach the mountain hut.
Follow the road up to the idyllic village of Lom pod Storžičem, with its imposing church.
Drive onwards to reach the village of Grahovše, where you will see a large gravel parking area on the left-hand side. Although it is possible to continue further by car, the tarmac road turns into a track, and there is also a notice opposite the aforementioned parking area, requesting that visitors kindly park in the allocated parking area, thus respecting life for the villagers and helping to preserve nature.
After just a few hundred metres you reach a junction and a signpost to the left marked Dom pod Storžičem. Follow the dirt road and you will soon get your first glance of majestic Mt. Storžič (2,132m) – the highest mountain in the western part of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps.
Continue on the road adjacent to the stream for around 10-15 minutes, passing a source of fresh water (on the left) and a somewhat hidden shrine (on the right).
On reaching a junction, you can either continue on the road (the longer, less scenic route) or take the right fork uphill (the more direct, scenic route). The latter soon leads up over a pasture with a few scattered wooden huts.
A short, steep incline awaits then, before you know it, you’ve reached the mountain hut.
From the hut, those wanting a longer, full-day hike, have several options. You can hike to the top of Storžič (cca. 3 hours from the hut), but note that part of the route is considered demanding, so only experienced and well equipped hikers should tackle it, or up to Tolsti vrh (cca. 2 hours from the hut), among other options.
If, however, the hut itself is your destination, then sit back and enjoy a drink and/or snack before heading back to the valley. The strudel looked delicious, though, of course, not gluten free so I could only look on. Note: in order to be able to sit indoors the hut, you must have proof of being double vaccinated, or have a negative COVID-19 test, or proof that you have recovered from the virus in the past 6 months. There are no restrictions on sitting outside the hut.
Click here for more information about this and other walks in the Tržič area.
Finally, as I mentioned above, without wishing to whinge in public, I feel I owe it to regular readers and followers of my blog, particularly those that use it as a source of reference/inspiration for hiking in Slovenia, to write a short word about my current ‘problem’ (since I’m not even sure what to call it). At the end of February this year my world changed, when I thought there had been an earthquake, but it turns out it was something going on in my head, i.e. my inner ear. Since then I have felt as if I’m on a boat on rough seas 24/7, with the world swaying and rocking around me, and the accompanying feeling of sea sickness. I’ve seen 7 doctors/specialists, had scans and various tests, and even tried several types of alternative medicine, but all to no avail. To the outside world I look fine, but, believe me, inside my head it’s a living nightmare, which I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, and it’s something no one can possibly understand unless they have had vestibular-type issues. Therefore, with little to no balance, my adventurous outdoor pursuits are currently resigned to those of someone twice my age, but I’m trying (though not always succeeding) to remain optimistic, and keep as active as I can. And on that note, until next time…
While I can’t be certain whether the claim of the Rosary Bead Trail that it is “the largest natural rosary bead in the world” holds true, it certainly is a lovely walk that connects four churches and leads through remote villages and countryside. Be sure to add it to your list of things to see and do while exploring the Gorenjska area!
Though originally designed as a pilgrimage trail, this 12km circular trail is also a great way to escape the crowds and appreciate the beauty of the unspoilt countryside between Tržič and Radovljica.
The trail begins in Brezje at the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians – Slovenia’s national pilgrimage sanctuary – from where in five stages it follows a route through the forest, across streams, through villages and along country lanes, and all in the shape (when viewed from above) of a rosary bead.
Below is an overview of, and a few insights into, the trail.
The first part leads from the basilica to the junction for Peračica. The first trail marker is at the rear of the basilica, from where you should set off in an easterly direction for 100 metres towards the yellow roads sign for Peračica and Dobro polje. Follow the road towards Peračica steeply downhill, passing a sign for the Path of Peace (Pot miru), until you reach a junction and the next trail marker with a map of the trail.
The trail is well marked throughout with green markers on trees as well as cement posts with plaques showing where you are on the trail.
Turn right and follow the country lane, passing another trail marker (on the right) and a colourful, traditional Slovenian apiary (on the left). The road leads down to cross a stream and then later, at a sign for Kovor, the trail branches off from the road into the forest.
Unless otherwise marked, keep straight ahead ignoring any paths that branch off to the left or right. You will reach a small wooden bridge over a stream with a bench, which is an ideal place to take a break.
The trail now leads slightly uphill to reach another fork where you take the path uphill to the left, which eventually emerges in the village of Kovor.
From Kovor the path continues towards Brezje pri Tržiču, not to be confused with the village of Brezje where the walk begins! This part of the route is on quiet country lanes with beautiful views of the countryside and hamlets beneath Mt. Dobrča.
On reaching Brezje pri Tržiču, there is a shrine and an information point with a visitors book.
I thought I knew the area pretty well, but from here I was in unknown territory and discovered a few villages in the municipality of Tržič, such as Vadiče, that I didn’t even know existed!
The final part of the trail leads to the village of Leše, from where it leads back to the start at the basilica in Brezje.
Click here to read more about this and other footpaths, hiking trails and other natural and cultural attractions in the Tržič area. The Tržič area, as well as the rest of the country, is now slowly reopening to tourists. There are various requirements for entry, depending on whether the country you are coming from is on Slovenia’s green, orange, red or dark red list. Click here for the latest information, but note that it can literally change overnight – as it did yesterday.